Publications

2017
Gerarden, Todd D., R.G. Newell, and R. Stavins. “Assessing the Energy-Efficiency Gap.” Journal of Economic Literature 55, no. 4 (2017): 1486–1525.Abstract
Energy-efficient technologies offer considerable promise for reducing the financial costs and environmental damages associated with energy use, but it has long been observed that these technologies may not be adopted by individuals and firms to the degree that might be justified, even on a purely financial basis. We survey the relevant literature on this "energy-efficiency gap" by presenting two complementary frameworks. First, we divide potential explanations for the energy-efficiency gap into three categories: market failures, behavioral explanations, and model and measurement errors. Second, we organize previous research in terms of the fundamental elements of cost-minimizing energy-efficiency decisions. This provides a decomposition that organizes thinking around four questions. First, are product offerings and pricing economically efficient? Second, are energy operating costs inefficiently priced and/or understood? Third, are product choices cost minimizing in present value terms? Fourth, do other costs inhibit more energy-efficient decisions? We synthesize academic research on these questions, with an emphasis on recent empirical findings, and offer suggestions for future research.
121117_assessing_the_energy-efficiency_gap.pdf
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Schmalensee, Richard, and Robert N. Stavins. “The Design of Environmental Markets: What Have We Learned From Experience With Cap and Trade?Oxford Review of Economic Policy 33, no. 4 (2017): 572-588.Abstract
This article reviews the design of environmental markets for pollution control over the past 30 years, and identifies key market-design lessons for future applications. The focus is on a subset of the cap-and-trade systems that have been implemented, planned, or proposed around the world. Three criteria led us to the selection of systems for review. First, among the broader class of tradable permit systems, our focus is exclusively on cap-and-trade mechanisms, thereby excluding emission-reduction-credit or offset programmes. Second, among cap-and-trade mechanisms, we examine only those that target pollution abatement, and so we do not include applications to natural resource management, such as individual transferable quota systems used to regulate fisheries. Third, we focus on the most prominent applications—those that are particularly important environmentally, economically, or both.
The Design of Environmental Markets: What Have We Learned From Experience With Cap and Trade?
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Stavins, Robert N.What Have We Learned from 30 Years of Cap-and-Trade Programs?The Environmental Forum 34, no. 6 (2017): 15. What Have We Learned from 30 Years of Cap-and-Trade Programs?
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Stavins, Robert N.Authority, Credibility, Influence: What U.S. Loses in Paris Pullout.” The Environmental Forum 34, no. 5 (2017): 17. column_80.pdf
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Stavins, Robert N.The Economics (and Politics) of Trump's Paris Withdrawal.” PBS NewsHour (2017). Publisher's VersionAbstract
The announcement by President Trump that he will withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement was based neither on real science nor sound economics.
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Stavins, Robert N.Goodbye Paris, Hello Nicaragua: Why Trump’s Withdrawl From The Climate Accord Is Bad For America.” WGBH News (2017). Publisher's VersionAbstract
President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement was both confused and misguided, and his justifications were, for the most part, false.
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Stavins, Robert N.Will the Trump Administration Realize the Many Benefits of Paris?The Environmental Forum 34, no. 4 (2017): 17. column_79.pdf
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Stavins, Robert N.Why Trump Pulled the U.S. Out of the Paris Accord.” Foreign Affairs (2017). Publisher's VersionAbstract
Trump’s decision to withdraw the nation from the Paris climate agreement was not based on science or sound economics, but on a confused, misguided, and simply dishonest desire to score some short-term political points with his voters. What he sacrifices in the long term will be immensely more difficult for the country to win back at the ballot box: authority, credibility, and influence.
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Stavins, Robert N.California’s Climate-Change Advances Could Be Jeopardized by Ill-Conceived Senate Bill.” The Sacramento Bee (2017). Publisher's Version

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Stavins, Robert N.The Evolution of Environmental Economics: A View from the Inside.” The Singapore Economic Review 62, no. 2 (2017): 251–274. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This essay provides one economist’s perspective on the two-decade evolution of the field of environmental economics, by tracing it through personal reflections on the professional path that has led to my research and writing. Also, the article summarizes the highlights of some of my research and writing during this period.

stavins_singapore_economic_review.pdf

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Ki-moon, Ban, and Robert N. Stavins. “Why the US Should Stay in the Paris Climate Agreement.” The Boston Globe (2017). Publisher's Version

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Stavins, Robert N.Is President Trump’s Climate Policy an Oxymoron?The Environmental Forum 34, no. 3 (2017): 17. column_78.pdf

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Schmalensee, Richard, and Robert N. Stavins. “Lessons Learned from Three Decades of Experience with Cap and Trade.” Review of Environmental Economics and Policy 11, no. 1 (2017): 59–79. Publisher's Version

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Stavins, Robert N.California Steps Forward on Climate but Emphasizes a Poor Policy Choice.” The Environmental Forum 34, no. 2 (2017): 15. column_77.pdf

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Stavins, Robert N.Onerous for Experts, IPCC Process in Danger of Becoming Politicized.” The Environmental Forum 34, no. 1 (2017): 15. column_76.pdf

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2016
Stavins, Robert N.What Does Trump’s Victory Mean for Climate Change Policy?PBS NewsHour, 2016. Publisher's Version

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Stavins, Robert N.Goodbye to the Climate.” The New York Times, 2016, sec. Op-Ed. Publisher's VersionAbstract

If Trump lives up to his campaign rhetoric, the country’s efforts to reverse climate change will themselves be reversed....

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Goulder, Lawrence H., and Robert N. Stavins. “New Emissions Targets Make Cap and Trade the Best Low-Cost, Market-Based Approach.” The Sacramento Bee, 2016. Publisher's Version

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Stavins, Robert N.A Key Challenge for Sustained Success of the Paris Agreement.” The Environmental Forum 33, no. 6 (2016): 15. column_75.pdf

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Stavins, Robert N.Cap-and-Trade: How California Can Lead on Climate Policy.” The Environmental Forum 33, no. 5 (2016): 15. column_74.pdf

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Pages